Confession, or Short and Simple Statement of Faith (Rudnerweide, Russia, 1853)
Also known as the Confession or Short and Simple Statement of Faith of Those Who are Called the United Flemish, Frisian, and High German Anabaptist-Mennonite Church, this confession was published by the Church in Rudnerweide in South Russia, Odessa in 1853 and adopted by the Turner, Oregon, congregation in 1878.
Translated from the German by Peter J. Klassen.
- 1 Text
- 1.1 I. Concerning God the Father
- 1.2 II. Concerning Christ the Son of God
- 1.3 III. Concerning the Holy Spirit
- 1.4 IV. Concerning the Church of God
- 1.5 V. Concerning the Office of Preacher
- 1.6 VI. Concerning the Office of Deacons
- 1.7 VII. Concerning Christian Baptism
- 1.8 VIII. Concerning the Lord's Supper
- 1.9 IX. Concerning the Footwashing of the Lord
- 1.10 X. Concerning Holy Matrimony
- 1.11 XI. Concerning Secular Authority
- 1.12 XII. Concerning the Swearing of Oaths
- 1.13 XIII. Concerning Vengeance
- 1.14 XIV. Concerning the Christian Ban in the Church
- 1.15 XV. Concerning the Return of Christ, the Resurrection of the Dead and the Last Judgment
- 2 Context
- 3 Bibliography
I. Concerning God the Father
We believe with our hearts and confess every man with his mouth, according to the content of Holy Scripture, the word of God, one God who is eternal, omnipotent, holy, just, incorruptible , omniscient, gracious, compassionate. He alone is good, perfect, invisible, and incomprehensible, alone wise, the Fountain of Life, Creator of Heaven and Earth, and all things visible and invisible, Who sustains all things by the word of His Power. All things are done by Him. Heaven is His Throne, and the earth is His footstool. He is great in wisdom and mighty in power, Lord of all Lords and King of all Kings, Whose name is Lord Sabaoth. The whole world is full of His honor and glory, for in His hands is everything. To Him alone be praise, honor and glory forever and ever, Amen.
II. Concerning Christ the Son of God
We believe on Jesus Christ, that He is our Lord and Savior, Redeemer and Giver of Salvation. He was miraculously begotten from eternity, the Eternal Son of God, begotten of the Father Himself so that He should be His beloved Son, as we are able to see and read in the Holy Scriptures. So also the beloved apostles recognized Him, as did other holy men of God, such as the apostle Peter, Nathaniel, John the Baptist, Thomas, Mary the sister of Lazarus, and others. He was sent into the world by the Father, so that He might fulfill the plan laid before the foundation of the world, namely, to redeem us from the eternal curse. For this purpose God sent His eternal Son from heaven, Who in the body of a blessed, gracious, young woman named Mary, became flesh and man, through the miraculous power and action of the Holy Spirit. He suffered for us under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and buried for our sins, the four evangelists report. He descended into hell to save us from it. On the third day He rose for our justification. He ascended to heaven, was seated at the right hand of God the almighty Father. From there He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
III. Concerning the Holy Spirit
We believe in the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son. Through Him the Father and the Son work, so that He with Father and Son forms the God-Head, as we read in the story of creation. We see them as one in the willing, acting, ruling, and accomplishing of the revelation of the Godly nature in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, as a true God. We believe also in the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, as well of the just as the unjust, who all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, Who will judge all men according to their works, good or evil. After this the eternal life.
IV. Concerning the Church of God
Concerning the Church of God and the fellowship of the saints we believe and confess that there is a Church of God, which He through His own blood has redeemed and has washed her of her sins through His blood. He has given Himself for the Church so that He might sanctify her, and has purified her through the washing of the word so that He might present her to Himself glorified, that is a church which is glorious, without spot or wrinkle, but which is holy and blameless. This Church we believe consists of the large number of people who throughout the world through faith on Jesus Christ and through obedience to the Holy Gospel have separated themselves from the sinful world and have their fellowship through the Holy Spirit with God the Father and with Christ their Head, with the multitudes of many thousands of holy angels in Heaven, and with all those who believe on Christ here on earth. Even though this church is scattered throughout all parts of the world, still these believers are members of, and constitute the body of, Christ Who is their head and foundation, their Shepherd, Lord and King. By Him the believers are ruled and guided. The signs of the true church are the right fruits of conversion: the avoidance and rejection of sins, and the life of goodness, holiness, and integrity, according to the teachings of Christ and His apostles; following in the true faith on Jesus Christ by obedience to the godly Word, and in the observance of the holy ordinances and in the unrestrained confession of God and Jesus before all men; in fervent, brotherly love toward each other, so that the unity in the Spirit may be kept in the bond of peace; by taking up the cross and truly following Christ. These are the true signs of the members of the Church of God, who gives evidence of life through godly and Christian virtues. These are purified by Christ, and are born-again members of the body of Christ, and joint heirs of eternal life.
V. Concerning the Office of Preacher
We believe and confess that in accordance with the teachings and practices of the Lord Christ and His apostles, God gave power to His Church to choose teachers and servants (Titus 1:5), so that the saints might be prepared for the work through which the body of Christ is built up. The choosing for such work and service is done when the servants and the church earnestly call upon the name of God, according to the example of the apostle Peter, when the disciples of Jesus Christ took two men, Joseph, called Barsabas, with a surname Just, and Matthew, prayed, and said, "Lord, discerner of all hearts, show now whom thou bast chosen of these two so that one may receive this service and office of apostle from which Judas has departed so that he might go to his place." They cast lots over them and the lot fell on Matthew, and he was added to the eleven apostles. If now the churches have need of such men for the ministry this is of great avail, and humbly implore Him that He, the discerner of all hearts, might show through the consensus of those gathered whom He has chosen for this service and office, being fully confident that Christ has faithfully promised that whatever you will ask of the Father in My Name that He will give unto you. For He is among those who believe on Him and who are gathered together in His Holy Name, whose desires are known unto Him even before they ask. Through His good Spirit He rules the will of man, so that He may reveal which one He has selected to be profitable and serviceable to His Church. Then is fulfilled the word which was spoken through the prophet Jeremiah, "I will give you a shepherd according to my heart, who will feed you with wisdom and understanding." After this election has occurred it is important to note what qualities are required in such a servant, namely, he must be a blameless person, the husband of one wife, sober, temperate, modest, hospitable, apt to teach, not a heavy wine drinker, not boastful, not engaged in an unhonorable occupation, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not avaricious, one who rules well his own household, who has obedient children, with constant integrity. He must hold to the Word which is sure, and be able to teach so that through wholesome doctrine he may mightily exhort and punish the opponents. He must be an example to the flock, he must feed the flock of Christ, not out of compulsion, but willingly; not for the sake of contemptible gain, but because of his deepest convictions; not as one who lords it over the people but as one who is an example. Then he shall receive the incorruptible crown of glory at the appearance of the chief shepherd.
VI. Concerning the Office of Deacons
We read in the Acts of the Apostles, "In those days, however, as the number of disciples grew, there arose a murmuring among the Greeks against the Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. Then the twelve called a group of disciples together and said, It is not fitting that we should leave the ministry of God and serve at tables. Therefore, dear brethren seek among you seven men of good reputation and full of the Holy Spirit, together with others who were set aside for the service of the poor." In this the Church of God must follow the example of the Holy Apostles when there is need for such men for the service to the poor. The Church must first earnestly pray to God and after such prayer choose men who have a good report through whom the poor will be helped by the gifts of the devout souls in the church. Members of the Church work faithfully so that they may give for the need of the poor, not letting the left hand know what the right does. They eat their own bread and deprive no one whether he has much or little. For Christ said, "The poor you have with you always and if you wish you can do good to them." Therefore they must follow the teachings of the Apostle Paul: "If anyone has an office, let him take care of that office. Is anyone a teacher, let him apply himself to teaching. He that exhorts, let him await exhortation. He that gives, let him do so with simplicity. He that rules, let him do it with diligence. Let him that shows kindness do so gladly. Let love be without hypocrisy."
VII. Concerning Christian Baptism
Baptism is an outward, visible, ordinance commanded by Christ Himself for incorporation into His Church. Its practice consists of this: all those who hear the teaching of the Holy Gospel, believe, and with penitent heart gladly accept it, must be baptized with water unto a blessed life according to the command of Christ when He said, "Unto Me is given all power in Heaven and on Earth; therefore go, and teach all nations, and baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creatures. He who believes and is baptized shall be saved. But he who does not believe shall be condemned." The holy apostles have diligently followed this command by teaching and preaching of the faith of Jesus Christ through which many believed and were baptized, both men and women. This also happened on the holy day of Pentecost or the festival in Jerusalem, where the apostle Peter said to the Jews: Let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified, Lord and Christ. When they heard that they were greatly disturbed, and said to Peter and the other apostles: "0 men, dear brethren, what shall we do? Peter said to them repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, for this promise is given to you and to your children and to all those far away whom the Lord our God will call. Those who gladly received the word were baptized and there were added to the church in those days about three thousand souls." So also now, those children who earlier were far away, when they have come so far that they are able to understand that voice which comes to their ears through the teaching of the Holy Gospel, and they receive this message gladly, and with penitent heart, and believe, they too are to receive baptism. The apostle Paul said, "Faith comes through the preaching, and preaching through the word of God." For those who truly believe, the blessing which comes to them from God through baptism is not the putting away of the uncleanness of the flesh, but rather the washing of the inner sinful uncleanness of the soul, through the shed blood of Christ, through which we have the forgiveness of sins. Baptism is the bond of a good conscience with God, brought about by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, through which the faithful comfort each other with the precious promise of eternal blessedness. In baptism those who are baptized are pledged and committed to leave all their sins buried through baptism in the death of Christ according to the teaching of the apostle Paul, who says, "What shall we say now? Shall we continue in sin so that grace may become stronger? Yet that be far from us. How should we wish to live in sin since we have died to it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized in Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? So then we have been buried with Christ through baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father so also we shall walk in a newness of life, and put on Christ through baptism, even as the apostle says, "As many of you as have been baptized they have put on Christ." So also must everyone after he has received God's gift, in order to better the body of Christ in temporal and spiritual matters, earnestly apply themselves so that as faithful stewards of God, and fellow-citizens of the spiritual Jerusalem, they may keep the laws of their King and Head, and be subordinate and obedient according to the teachings of Christ, who has said, "Teach them to observe all things which I have commanded you."
VIII. Concerning the Lord's Supper
The Lord's Supper is an outward, visible, evangelical ordinance, according to Christ's command and the example of the Apostles, for promoting a holy life. Bread and wine are used according to the example of Christ. The bread is broken and, together with the wine, is distributed and given to those who are believers, and have been baptized on the profession of their faith, according to Christ's command. The bread is eaten by them, the wine is drunk, and the bitter suffering and death of Christ is thereby proclaimed, according to the teaching of Paul who said, "I have received from the Lord that which I have given to you. For the Lord, in the night when he was betrayed, took bread, thanked, broke it and said, Take eat, this is my body which is broken for you, this do in remembrance of me. In like manner the wine after the meal, and said, This wine is the New Testament in my blood. This do as often as you drink it in remembrance of me. For as often as you eat of this bread and drink of this wine you shall proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes." In this outward meal there is represented and symbolized the offering on the cross of the holy body of Christ, and the shedding of His precious blood for the forgiveness of our sins, and that He in His heavenly estate is the life-giving bread, food, and drink of our souls. In the keeping of this spiritual supper, Christ unites Himself with all who truly believe, for He says in His word, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock, If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him and will eat the supper with him, and he with me." Furthermore, He teaches us that we, through our mind and heart, should rise toward heaven in holy prayer in order to acquire the true riches in Christ. The Lord's Supper exhorts us to be thankful for the great goodness of God which He through love has shown us through Jesus Christ. The Lord's Supper unites us in peace, love, unity of the spirit and to true Christian fellowship, as the apostle said, "The blessed wine, which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For as there is one bread, so we, being many, are one body, since we all partake of one bread."
IX. Concerning the Footwashing of the Lord
Footwashing among those who believe we confess to be an ordinance of Christ as was demonstrated by Him to His disciples. He has exhorted us to follow this example, according to the words, "Do you know what I have done unto you? You call me Master and Lord, and you say right, for I am Master and Lord. If now then I, who am your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you too shall wash each other's feet. I have given you an example so that you might do as I have done unto you. If you know this, happy are you if you do it." The reason why the Lord Jesus has commanded footwashing is this, to remind us that through grace by the blood of Christ we have been washed of our sins and that He our Lord and Master through this deeply humbling example has exhorted us to be truly humble and lowly. We are to show this work of love to those who come into our house and are received by us, for the apostle Paul also regarded footwashing as one of the works of virtue.
X. Concerning Holy Matrimony
Concerning matrimony we confess that is an, ordinance of God established by God in paradise and confirmed in the case of our first parents, Adam and Eve, one man and one woman, created in the likeness of God, while they were yet in grace before God. He blessed them so that they might multiply and fill the earth. Fornication and impurity shall be avoided, so that there is no misuse of this ordinance. In such an ordinance of God, confirmed also by the Lord Jesus, all Christians may be bound together except those who are too closely tied by bonds of blood. Such people, after prayer, may be bound together in matrimony and live together as Christians from then on till the end, so that each man may have his own wife, and each woman may have her own husband. In matrimony man and wife are so bound together and mutually obligated that for no reason and for no cause whatever may they be parted from each other, except for fornication and adultery, even as we read concerning this in the evangelist Matthew, where the Pharisees and Sadducess came to Christ, tempted Him and said, "Is it right that a man should be divorced from His wife for any cause? He, however, answered and said unto them, Have you not read that He who in the beginning created man made one man and one wife, and said, For this cause will a man forsake father and mother and hold to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh. So then they are not two but one flesh. What God has joined together let not man put apart. They said to Him again, why then did Moses command us to give a bill of divorce, so that there might be divorce? He said to them, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because of the hardness of your heart, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you whoever divorces his wife, except for causes of fornication, and marries another, he breaks the marriage bond and he who marries a person who has been divorced also breaks the marriage bond." From this it may be clearly seen and understood that the bond of matrimony is a firm indissoluble bond which may not be broken nor may the parties be divorced from each other except for cause of fornication, even as the Lord Christ said. A brother may take his sister in the faith in the church of God as wife, and a sister has her free will to accept such a brother or to reject him. For the apostle says, "A wife is bound by the law as long as her husband is alive, but if her husband dies she is again free to marry as she wishes, only let it be in the Lord." This means, that it must be according to the teaching of the Lord and in His will and good pleasure.
XI. Concerning Secular Authority
Concerning government we confess that God, who is king of all kings and Lord of all lords, has established kings and government in all lands for the common good and mutual benefit of the people so that they may lead a good, honorable, civil life. For there is no government except of God, and where there is government, it is ordained of God. He who opposes government opposes God's ordinance. And those who oppose shall be condemned. For not those who do good but those who do evil need fear the authority. Therefore everyone is commanded to be subordinate to the power of government, for it is God's servant to punish him who does evil. It does not (sic) bear the sword in vain. It is there for protection of the good and to punish those who do evil. Therefore all believers, indeed all people, are commanded by the word of God to fear their authority, to honor and to be obedient to it in all things which are not contrary to the word of God. Government must be given tribute, duties, and taxes in accordance with the teaching of the Lord, and according to the teaching of the apostle Peter, who says we must be obedient: "Submit to all human ordinance for the sake of the Lord, whether this be to the king, as supreme; or to governors, as those who are appointed by him for the punishment of evil-doers and for the praise of them that do well." We must also pray for government according to the command of the apostle Paul, who said, "I exhort you, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for all people; for kings, and for all those in authority, so that we may have a peaceful and quiet life, in all godliness and honesty." May the Highest give them wisdom and understanding peacefully to govern their land, cities, and subjects so that they may eventually receive the reward of eternal blessedness. To God the eternal King, unchangeable, invisible and alone wise, be glory and honor forever, Amen.
XII. Concerning the Swearing of Oaths
Concerning the swearing of oaths we understand and confess that the fathers of the Old Testament were permitted to swear an oath by the name of God; but the Lord Jesus, the Son of the living God, the King, Founder, and Establisher of the New Covenant, whose command we are obligated and committed to hear, has in the following words forbidden believers to swear an oath: "You have heard that to those in old times, it was said, You shall not swear falsely and you shall keep your oath to God. But I say to you that you should not swear at all, either by heaven for it is God's throne, nor by the earth, for it is His footstool, nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Also, you should not swear by your head, for you are not able to make one of your hairs white or black. Let your speech be yes, yes, no, no. Anything beyond that is evil." Therefore we know that we should not permit ourselves to be moved beyond the honest use of "yes" and "no." For our "yes" and our "no" must be as truthful as the highest oath. Similarly, the apostle James has exhorted us with the words, "Above all things, my brothers, do not swear, either by Heaven or by earth, nor by any other oath, but let your word be 'yes' and 'no' so that you may not be hypocrites." From this it is clearly to be seen that the New Testament does not permit to swearing or taking an oath. But our words must be honest and the truth must be spoken from the heart. The "yes" and the "no" may not be given or used lightly.
XIII. Concerning Vengeance
Our Lord Christ said, "You have heard that it has been said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, that you shall not resist evil; love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in Heaven, for He lets His sun rise on the evil and the good and He lets rain fall on the righteous and the unrighteous." From this we understand that man may practice no vengeance against his enemies. This also has been confirmed by the apostle Paul: "Do not avenge yourselves, my beloved, but give room to the wrath of God, for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord. If your enemy hungers, feed him; if he thirsts, give him to drink; if you do that you will heap coals of fire on his head. Do not be overcome of evil but overcome evil with good." The apostle Peter also says, "If anyone endures evil for the sake of his conscience, endures evil and suffers unjustly, this is praise-worthy. For what kind of praise is it if you are punished because of evil? But if you suffer because of good, that is acceptable before God. For unto this you have been called even as Christ has suffered for us and has given us an example, that we should follow in His footsteps. He did no sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth. He did not revile when he was reviled, nor threaten when He suffered. Rather, He left it all to Him who judges righteously."
XIV. Concerning the Christian Ban in the Church
We believe that the ban is a separation from those members who are living in open sin and leading a wicked life. This separation occurs for their betterment and not for their condemnation, so that the spirit may be saved unto the day of the Lord Jesus. For thus it is taught us by our Lord Christ, "If your brother sins against you, then go to him and admonish him between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have won your brother; if he does not hear you, then take another one or two brothers, so that all things may rest upon two or three witnesses. If he does not hear them, then tell it to the church. If he does not hear the church, then regard him as a heathen and a publican." Those who remain obstinate in their sins and separate themselves from God do not belong in the fellowship of Christ. Instead, they must be punished before all, so that they may be an example to instill fear into others, as the apostle says, "Put out from among you those who are evil. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole dough? Discard the old leaven, so that you may be fresh dough. For what part do believers have with unbelievers?" The avoidance of him who is unrepentant we believe to be the method whereby, according to the teaching of the apostle Paul, the sinner will be convicted of the error of his way and and will be converted. For if anyone who calls himself a brother is an adulterer, or is avaricious, or is an idolator, or a scoffer, or a drunkard, or robber, with him you are not to eat. Again Paul says, We command you, dear brothers who lead a disorderly life, who dishonor the teaching of Christ with division and evil. From such you should withdraw yourselves, for they are not serving the Lord Jesus Christ but their own flesh. Similarly, avoid a person who remains a heretic after he has been exhorted once or twice. But do not regard him as an enemy, but rather in love encourage him as a brother. Treat such a person with helpful compassion and Christian moderation, according to righteousness, for these are virtues which a Christian should show to all people, even unto his enemies. Concerning the reception of those into the Church who have repented, we believe that at all times we should be willing and prepared to receive into the Church once again the sinner who had been placed under the ban but who has shown genuine repentance and sorrow for his sins. His earlier faults shall be forgiven him. For the apostle Peter (sic) said to the Corinthians, that he who has been punished by so many should be heartily forgiven and comforted, so that he may not bear overwhelming sorrow. Therefore, I exhort you to show love to him. For this reason I have written you, in order to see if you are indeed willing to be obedient in all things. Him whom you forgive, I forgive also. So much for the Christian ban and the avoidance of the unrepentant and the reception of those who have genuinely repented.
XV. Concerning the Return of Christ, the Resurrection of the Dead and the Last Judgment
We believe and confess that the Lord Jesus Christ, our only Prophet, Priest and King, even as He went to Heaven, will come again to earth in clouds of Heaven, with great power and glory. For He Himself the Lord will come with a great cry and the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God from Heaven, and the dead in Christ will be resurrected first. After that, we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the twinkling of an eye, in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord. For the trumpet shall sound and the dead will arise incorruptible, with their own bodies, in which they have done good or bad--some to eternal life, some to eternal condemnation and shame. And the Lord Christ said, "The hour is coming and is even now here in which all who are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth: those who have done good, to the resurrection of life; those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment." In what form the dead will arise the apostle Paul, with glorious proofs tells us, for he says, "The body is sown corruptible; it will be resurrected incorruptible. It is sown in dishonor; it will be raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it will be raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it will be resurrected a spiritual body. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ and every man will have to answer to God so that each man may receive according to that which he has done during his life, whether it was good or bad." For the Lord will come in His glory and all the holy angels with Him, and He will sit on the throne of glory, and before all nations will be gathered. And he will separate them even as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats. And the sheep will be put on the right, and the goats on the left side. Then the King will say to those on His right, Come here, you blessed of the Father, inherit the Kingdom which was prepared for you from the beginning of the world. Those, who here on earth have shown faith, righteousness, love, and kindness, will go into eternal life, and be with the Lord forever, where there will be fulness of joy. They will rejoice at His right hand forever, where there will be no sorrow nor temptation. They will rejoice with joy unspeakable, in eternal heavenly glory and majesty, together with thousands of holy angels, and together also with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and indeed all the holy ones and the elect ones, to be with Him forever. Therefore the apostle says to the believers, "Comfort one another with these words, and watch, for you know that the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night." Then will he also say to those on His left, "Depart from Me, ye cursed, into eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels." These are the unrighteous, and those who did not believe, who did not recognize God here and were not obedient to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, who also have done no works of love and kindness. These will go into eternal pain and suffer eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and His great might when He will come and appear gloriously. They will be the objects of wrath, sorrow, and fear, just like all people who have done evil. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Their worm will not die and their fire will not be put out. They will have their portion of the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, and will be tormented day and night from eternity to eternity.
May God, who is full of grace and mercy, through Jesus Christ His greatly beloved Son and through the power of the Holy Spirit, keep us all from this terrible punishment of the godless, and may God give us grace that here on earth we may lead holy lives, die in blessedness, and joyfully be resurrected from the dead to eternal life and the greatly desired blessedness. Amen, Amen.
From the "Confessions, Doctrinal" article
The Flaminger Bekenntnis (Flemish Confession) of Georg Hansen (d. 1703), a preacher and elder of the Flemish Mennonite congregation at Danzig, was presented in 1678 to Stanislaus Sarnowski, the Bishop of Leslau. It was printed in Dutch at Amsterdam in 1696. A Latin and German edition was published, probably by a member of the Bishop's Commission, under the title, Confession oder kurze und einfältige Glaubensbekenntniss der Mennonisten in Preussen, so man nennet die Clarichen. Im Jahre Christi, unseres Erlösers (1678). Attached to this edition is the record of a religious cross-examination of Georg Hansen on 20 January 1678. A copy is to be found in the Danzig city library. This confession was the vehicle of a merger of the Danzig Old Flemish churches in Holland and the Old Flemish churches in West Prussia which was solemnized and confirmed at joint communion services in Amsterdam, 6 July 1730, and in Haarlem, 16 July. It is signed by four elders in Prussia and four elders in Holland as well as 70 preachers. A German edition was published by the Danzig church in the same year. In 1768 a new edition was published with a catechism and numerous appendices under the title, Confession, oder Kurtzer und einfältiger Glaubens-Bericht der Alten Flämischen Tauf-Gesinneten Gemeinden in Preussen In Fragen und Antwort verfasset der erwachsenen Jugend zum Nöthigen Unterricht. Gedenke an deinen Schöpffer/ in deiner Jugend. It consists of 19 sections having separate headings but not numbered. This confession was reprinted in 1878 (?) at Elkhart, Indiana, for the church in Turner County, South Dakota, with a title which states it to be a reprint of the edition published in 1853 by the church of Rudnerweide, South Russia. It was again reprinted at Elkhart in 1893 in Ein Fundamentbuch der Christlichen Lehre, edited by Elder Isaac Peters of the Evangelical Mennonite Brethren.
Karl Koop and John Rempel identify this confession as part of the "Prussian Confession" tradition of 1660.
- Dyck, Cornelius J., and Karl Koop. Confessions of Faith in the Anabaptist Tradition, 1527-1660. Classics of the radical Reformation, 11. Kitchener, Ont: Pandora Press, 2006: 311-313.
- Loewen, Howard John, ed. One Lord, One Church, One Hope, One God: Mennonite Confessions of Faith, Text-Reader Series, 2. Elkhart, IN: Institute of Mennonite Studies, 1985: 115-128.